Author Topic: Tips: Avoiding theft of your models and materials!  (Read 652 times)

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Offline Alfalpharius

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Tips: Avoiding theft of your models and materials!
« on: September 15, 2016, 09:35:10 AM »
So, I'm by no means a 'veteran' player, but I've had some experience in the past.  I spent some time watching some videos, talking to some friends, and even doing some reading.  I figured that this sort of information was worth sharing with the gaming community.  I might not have much tactical or modeling advice, but I can at least help out this way.

Watch out for theft. 

I know this sounds like something that should get the response: "Well, duh!", but it's not as simple as it sounds.  Theft is a huge problem in a lot of collectable/competitive games.  Friends of mine have lost a lot of valuable gaming materials at conventions, tournaments, and gaming stores.  And I mean nearly a thousand dollars worth of materials can be swiped in a moment's notice. This is the kind of theft that would make Blood Ravens and Trazyn the Infinite gasp.

We all know our hobby is expensive.  And so do other people.  Some of the thieves don't even play, they're just out to snag something.  Maybe for profit, maybe 'for the lulz'.  We could debate all day about 'why', but that's not important.  We could even sit here and come to the conclusion that conventions and tournaments need additional security and how awful this is.  However, like Ben Franklin said: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".  Once your stuff's been snagged, it's too late. 

Helpful tips:

-Scratch your initials under the baseplate of every model.  Don't paint it, this can be rubbed off. 

-Use a (reasonably) big box to carry your models, preferably one with a lock and distinguishing marks.

-Make a detailed inventory list of all the items that you bring, and check it before you leave.

-Put your casualties somewhere close that you can keep an eye on them.

-Only hand your models off to a trusted, competent friend. 

-Don't assume 'nice' people are trustworthy.

-Don't believe for one second that police care about your little plastic men or cards being stolen.

-Bring an honorable battle-brother or sister of battle with you if possible.

-Avoid carrying a wallet or anything in your back pocket, try to carry one form of ID in a lanyard and put your money in your front pocket.

-Assume that anyone is capable of theft, no matter what.  Even mothers carrying babies, children, a flirty girl/guy, the new friend you just made...

-Ensure that your bag or box is secured when you're not retrieving something from it.

-If you're not using it, conceal it.

-Be wary of persons wearing unseasonable and excessively large clothing.

-Be mindful of groups or individuals that seem to be watching you or your items too closely.  They aren't checking you out, you're not that attractive.

-Unless you possibly intend to use it, don't bring it.

So, there's a few tactics I caught on to.  Watch out for these things:

Little Grabby Grots:  A band of kids will go to the table.  Maybe they start asking questions or trying to have a conversation with you.  Maybe they pick up your models, which is annoying so you reach over to take it back nicely and ask them not to touch.  Maybe they knock something over onto the floor near you so you lean down to get it.  Either way, you later realize something's missing.  You were distracted, and your stuff got snagged.  Maybe it was one of the kids, which is terrible.  Maybe it was an adult or older teenager that put them up to it, which is even worse.  By the time you realize it, it's way too late.  At large conventions and tournaments, kids can vanish into a crowd and they've probably already taken your stuff out of the building or vanished into the crowd.  These tricks have been used for years, and in some major tourist areas this is used by pickpockets. 

How do I beat this?  Well, it's hard.  Things happen fast, and tournaments or conventions or even good games can 'overload' you sometimes.  The best thing you can do is to make sure all of your things are secured and within arm's reach.  A friend watching your back tends to help, but even that's not fool-proof.  Using the big, marked case for your models and keeping it locked comes in handy here, and that will help mitigate it.  Again, try not to have things around that you don't immediately need. 

The Deceiver:  While more difficult to procure models or cards that are on a list that you've brought with you, a friend of mine experienced this playing a Trading Card Game (Mortal Kombat, to be specific).  The circumstance is that a person sees something that you have in a bag or box or otherwise put away.  They will come over with an authority figure, and claim that you were near them when something was lost.  They'll describe it in detail to a security guard or staff member (because they've seen it), and then claim it's theirs.  Before you know it- your things are being confiscated and given to their 'owner'. 

How do I beat this? This is where having an inventory sheet comes in handy.  Also, if you conceal the items you're not using, it's hard for them to know what you have.  If your items are marked, you can always say it has your initials or name under the baseplate and show it. 

Offline Dirty Harry

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Re: Tips: Avoiding theft of your models and materials!
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 09:39:47 PM »
Additional advice for dealing with theft-
If you have a smart phone ( I don't know why some people still don't) take pictures of your collections as well. It's hard for a deceiver to try and argue against a digital photo time stamped DAYS before the event.

Dice, tape measures, writing utensils, and templates WILL GET LOST. it's unfortunate but it happens too often, so to avoid this, leave your custom club dice at home. Some dollar/pound shops actually sell large amounts of dice for cheap. Templates are up to you. Custom laser cut templates are cool, but if you have to bring em, make sure they have your name on em.

When taking casualties in games, PUT YOUR DEAD MODELS BACK IN YOUR CASE. What sounds more bothersome, taking an extra few minutes to put models back or building and painting replacements?

When you've finished your game, act as an extra pair of eyes and ears for your gaming friend who hasn't finished there's. Most theft is a crime of opportunity. And multiple witnesses kills opportunity.

When dealing with the grots with sticky fingers, if you see them going to mess with your models, politely but assertively inform them not to mess with your stuff. It's up to you if you let them after they ask permission but I've had to be an --- on more than a few occasions because randoms want to come up to my table and start messing with pieces of terrain or models placed on the table.
Don't try making a unit unkillable. its a waste of time and the dice gods laugh at you for wasting your time. Dedicate a unit to a job and make sure it does it til it's either dead or running.

Offline Alfalpharius

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Re: Tips: Avoiding theft of your models and materials!
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2016, 12:23:35 AM »
Another wise move to make is that if you're hosting an event at your house, be sure that you get everyone's contact information.  The little group I visited recently had something stolen, and because there's a sign-in sheet in the area they were able to track down everyone there and find the perpetrator in less than 12 hours.